First off, we’ve got some debates in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. In fact, I’ll be moderating one of them, right here in Saranac Lake.
Matt Doheny and Doug Hoffman will square off in a primary debate at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7 at the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake. It’s being sponsored by the WNBZ news department and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
A three-person media panel will ask the questions – that panel features Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio, Peter Crowley of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, and Matt Bosley of Denton Publications. Panelists will draft questions, and we’re encouraging the public to submit questions, too.
Voters need debates. It offers folks a first-hand look at the candidates, free of canned press statements and air-brushed advertising. That’s why our questions are being kept secret until the night of the debate – we want to see how the candidates react to questions off the cuff (although I’m not implying that we’ll be asking screwball questions).
In other 23rd CD news, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing both incumbent Congressman Bill Owens and Doheny on North Country Today. You can listen to those interviews here. I’ll be interviewing Hoffman Sept. 2.
One of Hoffman’s major criticisms of Doheny is the Watertown business man’s ties to Wall Street – I had a chance to ask Doheny about those criticisms directly. Here’s what he told me: “I don’t think there are concerns at all,” he said. “Unfortunately, my opponent is sort of grasping at straws.”
“The reality is twofold,” he added. “Number one: I’ve invested my time in turning around troubled companies. And number two: I’ve been related to finance for my entire career, but I’ve never worked with an institution that took a bailout from the feds.”
Doheny says he shouldn’t be criticized for his personal success. “My opponent shouldn’t be critical of someone who has followed their own American dream,” he said. “I’m proud of my success. I’m proud of Mr. Hoffman’s successes. I’m proud that Mr. Owens has found success.”
Meanwhile, Hoffman is espousing the merits of Arizona’s controversial immigration law; you can watch his new ad here.
Casey Sieler of the Times Union picked apart Hoffman’s ad in a blog post at Capitol Confidential.
In New York’s 20th Congressional District, Democratic Representative and incumbent Scott Murphy is hitting the airwaves with some new ads, and challenger Chris Gibson got some help from an influential Republican.
Finally, a quick look at the gubernatorial election, or, “the one that Cuomo is going to win come November.”
Joking aside, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s lead in the polls looks pretty insurmountable at this point. But as I’ve said before, at least we’ve got Carl Paladino to keep things interesting.
In July, the Buffalo businessman introduced Mario Jr. – a campaign volunteer dressed as a duck, assigned to follow Cuomo around to all of his events.
Now, Paladino is rolling out Little Ricky – a volunteer dressed as a giant chicken. And as the name implies, this one’s job is to follow around former Long Island Congressman Rick Lazio.
Yeah, I know, these are just gimmicks and really don’t offer anything to voters looking for a meaningful dialogue – especially since Mario Jr. refused to take any of Jon Alexander’s questions outside a Cuomo campaign event in Saranac Lake (the response from the duck’s handler was, “he doesn’t talk, he’s a freaking duck”).
Paladino’s shtick might be working, however. He’s gaining ground on Lazio.
That’s it for now. I’ve got elections AND football coming up. I love autumn.
By the way, send your questions for the Hoffman/Doheny debate to firstname.lastname@example.org – or pass them along to John Warren here at the Adirondack Almanack and he’ll forward them to me.